Friday, September 21, 2007

The hidden high cost of ShareBuilder

I have been a new user of sharebuilder and the my first a couple of days' experience is definitely undervelming. Compare to the copious documentations and helps at either Fidelity, E*trade or even Scottrade, the documentations on is minimal at most if not unexist. Hope that they don't skimp on security. But to be sure, there are a lot of excesses. And the fee on their money market fund is one of such example. Before the cash is invested, they will be parked at BDMXX (ShareBuilder Bedford Shares of The RBB Money Market Portfolio), which sport a 12-1b fee of 0.60% (0.65% before voluntary cap). What's that use for? shelf spaces at brokerages! Actually the fee breakdown to

Annual Portfolio Operating Expenses*
(Expenses that are deducted from Portfolio assets)
Management Fees(1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.45%
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees(1)(2) . . . . . . . . . . . 0.65%
Other Expenses(1)(3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.17%
Total Annual Portfolio Operating Expenses(1) . . . . . . . . . 1.27%

And the footnotes are

1. Management fees include investment advisory and administration fees. The Adviser voluntarily waived a portion of its Management Fees and/or reimbursed expenses for the Portfolio during the fiscal year ended August 31, 2006. The Adviser expects that it will continue to voluntarily waive a portion of these fees and/or reimburse expenses through the fiscal year ending August 31, 2007. The Portfolio’s service providers may also voluntarily waive a portion of their fees and/or reimburse expenses during these fiscal years. After these fee
waivers and/or reimbursements, the Portfolio’s Management Fees, Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees, Other Expenses and ordinary Total Annual Portfolio Operating Expenses are not expected to exceed:
Management Fees 0.16%
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees 0.60%
Other Expenses 0.14%
Total Annual Portfolio Operating Expenses 0.90%
Although the Adviser expects the waivers and/or reimbursements to continue through August 31, 2007, these fee waivers and/or reimbursements are voluntary and may be terminated at any time.
2. Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees reflect fees incurred by the Portfolio during the fiscal year ended August 31, 2006. The Portfolio may pay the Distributor up to a maximum of 0.65% of the average daily net assets of the Bedford Class under the Portfolio’s distribution
plan during the current fiscal year. The Distributor may voluntarily waive these fees at its discretion. The Distributor voluntarily waived 0.05% of its Distribution and Service Fee during the fiscal year ended August 31, 2006. These voluntary fee waivers may be terminated
at any time.

What does this mean? If you have cash parked in ShareBuilder or have this sucker in your 401K plan. You are giving a bout 20% of you meager return to ShareBuilder for the privilege to invest with them. No wonder this fund has miserable total return of

2.38% (1 year) 1.55% (3 years) 3.20% (10 years)

Your fortune will be much better off had you been with Fidelity or some other popular online brokers.

symboldateyield (after fees)
VMMXXSep 215.09%
SWVXXSep 215.08%
FDRXXSep 215.09%
BDMXXSep 214.58%

The 0.50% or so yield difference obviously come from the fee differences investors are paying dearly to ShareBuilder.

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